If there’s one topic the Swiss don’t feel neutral about, it’s fondue. Fact: It’s impossible not to get fired up about a hot pot of soupy cheese… into which you dunk fluffy cubes of bread. How do you say YOLO in Swiss German?
The Early Days of ‘Due
- Yeah, the mustard-yellow fondue set your parents were gifted for their nuptials circa 1973 is old, but fondue, once a mixture of goat’s cheese, wine and flour, was first referenced in Homer’s Iliad in 800 BC! Um, hello. So old.
- The fondue we know and love today originated as a way for 18th century Swiss peasants to subsist on stale bread and hard cheese during barren winter months. The vital lesson here is that you can smother practically anything in melted gruyere and emmental and call it food.
- In 1930, the Swiss Cheese Union declared fondue Switzerland’s national dish. First of all, there’s a Swiss Cheese Union?! Note: there is no second of all.
It’s delicious but I have no idea what I’m eating
- Although ‘due varies by region, most recipes stem from the classic Neuchateloise — the aforementioned blend of grueyere and emmental. The Innerschweiz (Central Swiss) variety includes a parmesan-like cheese called sbrinz. The Appenzeller canton adds, duh, briny Appenzeller cheese to their mix. And each of these variations contains white wine because it’s so much more efficient to pour wine in your cheese
- Traditionally, fondue is paired with white wine (see above), black tea or beer. Basically, everything goes with liquid cheese.
Nothing says community like communal cheese and an open flame. So dig in, fondue-lovin’ friends!